Up Tempo Offenseuis Dispatch reporter & 101 Rams insider Jim Thomas spoke with Bradford early in this week; “I’m just comfortable in it,” Bradford said. “It’s something I’ve done a lot of (in college), but I think it sometimes keeps the defense on their heels a little bit. When we go no-huddle, they can’t huddle. They’ve got to do all their communication without being in the huddle, which just makes it a little bit tougher on them. I think everyone in this offense really likes it. When we go to our no-huddle offense, we have a good tempo with it and I just think it’s something that we do really well.”
The up tempo offense has several different styles or names, Two Minute Drill, No Huddle or as they call it in the College ranks today “The Blur”. Every NFL team has a No Huddle style of offense in their package. The goal of the hurry up offense, to reduce the game clock time per play, and change in play calling within a strategic point of view. To reduce or eliminate the time spent in the huddle, clock management and take advantage of the defense inability to make substitutions and forcing them to communicate thru hand signals. .
Let’s start with the Two Minute Drill, earning its name from the hurry up no huddle offense, its primary tactics during this time involved, to manage substitutions, time outs and the clock. It was made popular for the heroics at the end-of-game drives by a team tied or trailing.
The No Huddle Offense was made famous by the Buffalo Bills and quarterback Jim Kelly nicknamed the K-Gun during the early 1990’s. This up tempo offense threatened to snap the ball quickly, again denying the defense the ability to substitute, forcing them to respond to formations, motion and audible with verbal or hand communication. Generally the offensive coordinator calls plays early in the game or seen something on film during the week, knowing the defensive tendencies will react to a certain formation and motion. For most no huddle offenses have a predetermined plan that was set and deployed in the middle to later part of the game. Jim Kelly called his own plays and communicated thru hand signals to receivers and running backs. This has not been duplicated by any other team. This propelled the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive appearances (’91-’94) in the Super Bowl, the only team in NFL history to do so. The K-Gun was very unique offense, it earned a reputation as the most famous and productive form of hurry up offense in NFL.
Former Head Coach Sam Wyche along with quarterback Boomer Esiason with the Cincinnati Bengals in the late eighties used the no huddle as a normal every down offense. Their strategy was extremely effective in creating defensive fatigue, allowing them the advantage, along with two Super Bowl trips.
Today the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cincinnati Bengals are among the current and most popular NFL teams that use a form of the No Huddle.
From a production point of view, the probabilities or goals were to gain significant yardage in huge chucks through the air, while controlling the clock. Teams will use a combination of pass/run. Run is only applied to play calling or quarterback selection on the field if a team has multiple time outs. Passing is generally targeted at the sidelines.
As football is a copycat league, from College to Professional football, back to college. Look for the new wave of no huddle attack used by the University of Oregon to hit the NFL. It is called the Blur Offense, a combination of the “pistol” a shot gun offense developed at the University of Nevada. The old Single Wing with mis-direction fakes, used since the beginning of time. The Triple Option in which several colleges used it over the years, but was never adopted into the NFL level of competition. The spread offense that is taking over High School football, bled into College football a decade ago.
The Blur Offense comes from four existing ideas, and is executed with speed and explosion. The average time of play delivery from the sideline to the field on an average is 12-15 seconds from end of play to the spot of the ball by the official. The most efficient NFL team running the No Huddle Offense typically burns 20-25 seconds from play stop to play start (NFL.com). Indeed, one could argue that the most impressive thing about the blur offense is how rapidly and effectively the signals come in. All plays are called by hand signal from the sideline, and busted plays by Oregon are surprisingly few considering the pace. Players glance at the sideline, race up to the line of scrimmage and go.
While the NFL is not ready for the Blur Offense, look for a derivative coming to a NFL franchise near you. Sam Bradford threw for over 4,000 plus yards through the air in 2008 in a form of the Blur offense, when at the helm of the Oklahoma Sooner ship. In the meantime enjoy the version the Rams are allowing the Big Easy to employ, because the fireworks are coming and so are the WINS, and possibly the NFC Crown.